Sint-Truiden, Belgium
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Lux S.A.,InSilico IPM | Lux S.A.,Warsaw University of Life Sciences | Wnuk A.,Warsaw University of Life Sciences | Vogt H.,Julius Kuhn Institute | And 3 more authors.
Frontiers in Physiology | Year: 2016

The paper reports application of a Markov-like stochastic process agent-based model and a "virtual farm" concept for enhancement of site-specific Integrated Pest Management. Conceptually, the model represents a "bottom-up ethological" approach and emulates behavior of the "primary IPM actors"-large cohorts of individual insects-within seasonally changing mosaics of spatiotemporally complex faming landscape, under the challenge of the local IPM actions. Algorithms of the proprietary PESTonFARM model were adjusted to reflect behavior and ecology of R. cerasi. Model parametrization was based on compiled published information about R. cerasi and the results of auxiliary on-farm experiments. The experiments were conducted on sweet cherry farms located in Austria, Germany, and Belgium. For each farm, a customized model-module was prepared, reflecting its spatiotemporal features. Historical data about pest monitoring, IPM treatments and fruit infestation were used to specify the model assumptions and calibrate it further. Finally, for each of the farms, virtual IPM experiments were simulated and the model-generated results were compared with the results of the real experiments conducted on the same farms. Implications of the findings for broader applicability of the model and the "virtual farm" approach-were discussed. © 2016 Lux, Wnuk, Vogt, Belien, Spornberger and Studnicki.


PubMed | WUR, Catholic University of Leuven and pcfruit vzw
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Journal of the science of food and agriculture | Year: 2016

Braeburn browning disorder is a storage disease characterised by flesh browning and lens-shaped cavities. The incidence of this postharvest disorder is known to be affected by pre-harvest application of fertilisers and triazole-based fungicides. Recent work has shown that calcium and potassium reduced the incidence of Braeburn browning disorder, while triazoles had the opposite effect. This study addresses the hypothesis of an early proteomic imprint in the apple fruit at harvest induced by the pre-harvest factors applied. If so, this could be used for an early screening of apple fruit at harvest for their postharvest susceptibility to flesh browning.Calcium and triazole had significant effects, while potassium did not. One hundred and thirty protein families were identified, of which 29 were significantly altered after calcium and 63 after triazole treatment. Up-regulation of important antioxidant enzymes was correlated with calcium fertilisation, while triazole induced alterations in the levels of respiration and ethylene biosynthesis related proteins.Pre-harvest fertiliser and fungicide application had considerable effects on the apple proteome at harvest. These changes, together with the applied storage conditions will determine whether or not BBD develops. 2016 Society of Chemical Industry.


Schoofs H.,Pcfruit Vzw | Verjans W.,Pcfruit Vzw | Deckers T.,Pcfruit Vzw | De Maeyer L.,Bayer AG | Bylemans D.,Pcfruit Vzw
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2015

Since the use of the antibiotic Streptomycin is forbidden in Belgium, new strategies to control fire blight have been developed like the use of Plant Defense Enhancing (PDE) molecules. Aliette (fosetyl-Al) has been registered against fire blight in Belgium in 2012 as a PDE molecule with applications starting in the postfloral period on pear and at the end of bloom on apple. A PDE molecule like fosetyl-Al should be positioned preventively, prior to the infection, so that the defense mechanisms of the plants can be switched on in time. A reduction in the disease progression and a clear reduction in the ooze formation on the infected tissues were observed on plants treated 3 times preventively with fosetyl-Al and this is considered to be a very interesting factor in the fire blight epidemiology. Furthermore, after hail during the summer period, fosetyl-Al can interfere with the ooze formation on the infected immature fruits and lower the disease spread. To protect the flowering period, the efficacy of the bacterial antagonist Bacillus subtilis, is tested. The antagonistic bacteria Bacillus subtilis can act against fire blight through a competition with Erwinia amylovora for site and nutrients on the stigma of the flowers and through the production of antimicrobial peptides. In 2013 and 2014, the efficacy of different formulations of Bacillus subtilis QST 7013, applied alone or in combination with fosetyl-Al, was assessed against artificial inoculations of flower clusters and young, active growing shoots on potted 'Conference' pear trees under optimal infection conditions in the quarantine greenhouse. The results showed interesting activity of the bacterial antagonist against Erwinia amylovora: a reduction in the disease progression as necrosis and a limitation of the ooze formation on the infected tissue was observed. A combination of the protection of blossoms with Bacillus subtilis followed by the PDE activity of fosetyl-Al looks promising.


Sima A.A.,Flemish Institute for Technological Research | Baeck P.,Flemish Institute for Technological Research | Nuyts D.,Flemish Institute for Technological Research | Delalieux S.,Flemish Institute for Technological Research | And 4 more authors.
International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences - ISPRS Archives | Year: 2016

This paper gives an overview of the new COmpact hyperSpectral Imaging (COSI) system recently developed at the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO, Belgium) and suitable for remotely piloted aircraft systems. A hyperspectral dataset captured from a multirotor platform over a strawberry field is presented and explored in order to assess spectral bands co-registration quality. Thanks to application of line based interference filters deposited directly on the detector wafer the COSI camera is compact and lightweight (total mass of 500g), and captures 72 narrow (FWHM: 5nm to 10 nm) bands in the spectral range of 600-900 nm. Covering the region of red edge (680 nm to 730 nm) allows for deriving plant chlorophyll content, biomass and hydric status indicators, making the camera suitable for agriculture purposes. Additionally to the orthorectified hypercube digital terrain model can be derived enabling various analyses requiring object height, e.g. plant height in vegetation growth monitoring. Geometric data quality assessment proves that the COSI camera and the dedicated data processing chain are capable to deliver very high resolution data (centimetre level) where spectral information can be correctly derived. Obtained results are comparable or better than results reported in similar studies for an alternative system based on the Fabry-Pérot interferometer.


Bangels E.,pcfruit VZW
Communications in agricultural and applied biological sciences | Year: 2012

Codling moth (Cydia pomonella) is one of the most important pests in apple and pear. In 2010 mating disruption became a key pest management tactic in Flemish pip fruit orchards, largely due to a government subsidy and demonstrating projects aiming to widen the area treated by pheromones as large as possible. As a consequence, the mating disruption strategy was applied at approximately 7.500 ha, or half of the pip fruit area, in 2010 and 2011. The sudden large-scale implementation of this technique changed the codling moth management landscape. Here we present a case study of a commercially managed orchard that suffered from high codling moth pressures for many years, as did the surrounding area. The RAK3 mating disruption system was introduced at this location in 2010, and was continued in 2011. Systematic detailed codling moth flight data for this location are available for many years. In addition, comprehensive data on damage levels of chemically untreated windows spread all over the test orchard in a randomized block design were obtained in successive years, enabling us to thoroughly evaluate the effect of the changed codling moth management strategy. Data from 2011 included damage levels in chemically treated windows when the entire orchard was applied once at the flight peak of Cydia pomonella. In 2009, before introduction of mating disruption, a mean of 8.25 +/- 5.54% of the fruits were infested at harvest when assessed in completely untreated windows. After two years of mating disruption, supported with a full chemical support in 2010, except for the untreated assessment windows, and only one application on the flight peak of 2011, damage was reduced to less than 0.03% at harvest. This is a valuable case study to demonstrate the benefits of the mating disruption approach.


Goossens D.,Pcfruit vzw
Communications in agricultural and applied biological sciences | Year: 2011

During summer the parasitoid Aphelinus mali may certainly reduce the infestation of woolly apple aphid (Eriosoma lanigerum), but studies on the single interaction rarely indicate sufficient biological control in the period May-June. In this period chemical control by spirotetramat or pirimicarb remains indispensable in order to anticipate on dense migration waves and subsequent colonization of extension shoots by E. lanigerum. The limited parasitation by A. mali around flowering is linked with a delayed emergence from diapause and with a slower reproduction rate than its host. In 2010 and 2011 the first adult flights monitored on yellow sticky traps corresponded perfectly with the currently used prediction models for A. mali. Further accurate monitoring all along the season enabled also to determine a well defined endo-parasitic phase of A. mali occurring after the small peak observed around flowering. During this endo-parasitic phase A. mali larvae reside inside their mummified host. Compounds with higher acute toxicity on A. mali adults, like chloronicotinyl insecticides (CNI's), are preferably positioned here. Selectivity in the time can then be claimed. Respecting this principle, the further parasitation potential of A. mali in summer is not hampered. Preservation of the first peak of flights of A. mali in the pre-flowering period is essential for an exponential flight increase. This is essential for the parasitation of E. lanigerum in summer, which constitutes a valuable complement in the integrated control strategy.


Belien T.,pcfruit VZW
Communications in agricultural and applied biological sciences | Year: 2012

A key element of integrated pest management (IPM) is the suppression of potential pest outbreaks by beneficial arthropods. The European earwig, Forficula auricularia L., is an important natural enemy of a wide range of insect pests in pip fruit orchards. However, earwig population sizes vary greatly from location to location, illustrating their sensitivity to biotic and abiotic factors, especially human interventions relating to orchard management. In order to help growers sparing and augmenting earwig populations in their pip fruit orchards, we developed a software tool that integrates a sophisticated earwig phenology model with management recommendations. The program is based on a day degree model for earwigs which is fed by temperature data collected by the pcfruit research centre. In addition, a pesticide database with known side effects of a wide range of products on the different life stages of earwigs is integrated in the system. The output gives the current status of the earwig population and management recommendations for activities critical for their survival. Hence, by consultation of this user-friendly software fruit growers can predict the earwig development in the field at any time, and organize the timing of orchard management actions taking into account the presence of (sensitive) life stages of the earwig life cycle. Doing so, negative effects specific orchard management actions, such as badly timed spray applications and soil tillage, can be avoided.


Belien T.,Pcfruit Vzw | Peusens G.,Pcfruit Vzw | Schoofs H.,Pcfruit Vzw | Bylemans D.,Pcfruit Vzw
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2015

Pentatomid stink bugs (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) include several species that occur in pear orchards where they cause feeding damage with their piercing-sucking mouthparts, resulting in deformed fruits. In the Belgian fruit growing area they used to be secondary pests, but over the last decade they have caused economically important losses, especially in organically managed orchards. During three consecutive years (2011-2013) an in-depth monitoring study was executed to elucidate the species complex and the population dynamics of stink bugs in Belgian pome fruit growing. The red-legged shieldbug (Pentatoma rufipes L.) was found to be the most represented. Other important but less frequently occurring species were the mottled shieldbug (Rhaphigaster nebulosa L.) and the common green shieldbug (Palomena prasina L.) The invasive exotic brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomporpha halys) was not found during these surveys. Population dynamics studies on P. rufipes revealed their univoltine life cycle, their overwintering in the orchard itself as second instar nymphs, and their presence within the orchard during the entire year. In addition, field trials were executed to test and compare the efficacy of several plant protection products applied at different timings during the season (before and/or after blossoming and after harvest). Interesting control efficacies were obtained for several compounds (including active ingredients compatible with organic production like spinosad and pyrethrum). The potential role of stink bugs in transmitting harmful organisms, like Erwinia amylovora, the causal agent of fire blight, was also investigated. Under controlled laboratory conditions the adult stages of P. rufipes and P. prasina were able to transmit E. amylovora to a small extent from artificially inoculated pears or pear slices to injured healthy pears or pear slices. Bacteria of fire blight survived on both adult stink bug species up to 66 h. In summary, the outcomes of our studies have generated valuable insights in the species complex, population dynamics, damage potential, and control strategies of stink bugs in commercial pear growing.


Clymans R.,Pcfruit Vzw | Vrancken K.,Pcfruit Vzw | Bylemans D.,Pcfruit Vzw | Belien T.,Pcfruit Vzw
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2015

Pear sucker (Cacopsylla pyri L.) is the most important economic pest in Belgian pear production. Biological control by naturally present predatory bugs Anthocoris sp. can be very successful, although in most cases the numbers of predatory bugs are insufficient in spring and autumn. In this context, the potential of other beneficial arthropods was investigated. Spiders (Araneae) have the potential to buffer pest populations and are abundantly present in spring and autumn in pear orchards. For that reason, two experiments were carried out to examine how spiders can be integrated into pest management. In laboratory and field experiments, plant protection products commonly used in pear growing in spring and autumn were tested on spiders. The laboratory trial showed that deltamethrin (Patriot®) and spinosad (Tracer®) have considerable lethal side-effects on late instars of Araniella cucurbitina. Abamectin (Vertimec®) and emamectin benzoate (Affirm®) had more limited effects. In the field experiment, deltamethrin, abamectin in combination with an adjuvant, and spinosad turned out to be the most harmful tested products for spiders. There were indications that thiamethoxam is harmless for spiders, whereas it suppresses the pear sucker population.


PubMed | Pcfruit vzw
Type: Evaluation Studies | Journal: Communications in agricultural and applied biological sciences | Year: 2012

During summer the parasitoid Aphelinus mali may certainly reduce the infestation of woolly apple aphid (Eriosoma lanigerum), but studies on the single interaction rarely indicate sufficient biological control in the period May-June. In this period chemical control by spirotetramat or pirimicarb remains indispensable in order to anticipate on dense migration waves and subsequent colonization of extension shoots by E. lanigerum. The limited parasitation by A. mali around flowering is linked with a delayed emergence from diapause and with a slower reproduction rate than its host. In 2010 and 2011 the first adult flights monitored on yellow sticky traps corresponded perfectly with the currently used prediction models for A. mali. Further accurate monitoring all along the season enabled also to determine a well defined endo-parasitic phase of A. mali occurring after the small peak observed around flowering. During this endo-parasitic phase A. mali larvae reside inside their mummified host. Compounds with higher acute toxicity on A. mali adults, like chloronicotinyl insecticides (CNIs), are preferably positioned here. Selectivity in the time can then be claimed. Respecting this principle, the further parasitation potential of A. mali in summer is not hampered. Preservation of the first peak of flights of A. mali in the pre-flowering period is essential for an exponential flight increase. This is essential for the parasitation of E. lanigerum in summer, which constitutes a valuable complement in the integrated control strategy.

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